Safe boating when you're older


Even the most experienced boaters can face unexpected risks on the water. You may have skippered a boat more times than you can count, but as you age, you become more vulnerable to safety incidents due to changes in health and mobility, including the ability to quickly react to sudden hazards.

People aged 70+ are over-represented in boating trauma, accounting for about in 1 in 5 fatalities. It's important to take extra care so you can keep enjoying your time on the water safely.



Tips to stay safe:

  • Know your limits and the limits of your vessel. If in doubt, don't go out.
  • Always wear a lifejacket and head out with a mate when you can.
  • Use a checklist to keep track of important routines, including safety checks and equipment.
  • Ensure you boat is suitable for your ability and the conditions. Customise your boat to your needs – this could include more handholds, non-skid surfaces, boarding ladders and other equipment.
  • Watch your balance - be careful getting in and out of dinghies and tenders or when moving about on board.
  • Watch out for signs of fatigue, and stay well rested – share the helm, as fatigue affects everyone.
  • Tell someone where you are going and your estimated time of return. Log on and off with Marine Rescue NSW via app, marine radio or phone.

More information on boating rules can be found in the Boating Handbook